This was a film that I saw the trailer for and was intrigued to check it out. It wasn't until after that I realized this is actually the third installment of the series that was based off a Jack Ketchum work, Offspring. I decided to check out of those all films in prep for this and I'm glad I did, since I had not seen any of them to that point. There are some subtle nods, but that's about it. There really isn't a synopsis on the Internet Movie Database, so I'll jump right in.
We start with The Woman (writer and director Pollyanna McIntosh). We don't actually see her face at this time, but she is walking with a younger woman, Darlin'' (Lauryn Canny). She forces her to go to a hospital, but she is hit by an ambulance before actually going in.
She is brought inside and being attended to by a doctor and Tony (Cooper Andrews). Darlin'' hops up and almost takes a finger off the doctor. They then go searching for her and Tony gets down on all fours to connect with her. She is then given a shot that knocks her out. It really should be pointed out, Darlin'' is feral. She cannot talk or understand language, she is covered in dirt and has lived in the wilderness for many years.
While she is asleep, we learn that the hospital is run by the local church. The Bishop (Bryan Batt) shows up to check on the teen. He brings Nora-Jane Noone, a former drug addict turned into a nun. They're going to take in Darlin', but they want to do it as a publicity stunt to ensure the shelter isn't closed, reforming this feral girl.
We learn a bit more about Darlin' and The Woman's past. The elder woman didn't completely abandon her and she is searching for Darlin'. The younger woman is harboring a secret, as is the parish that the girl is taken too. Darlin' is domesticated and befriends some of the other girls there. She is terrified though about something and will do whatever she can to prevent it, as she saw what it did to her sister, Peggy (Lauren Ashley Carter).
Now I do have to say, I was a bit disappointed with this film. I will get into that a bit later, but I will admit, I loved the set up. I love the idea that Darlin' is the little girl who is taken at the end of The Woman. She is harboring a secret, that I did pick up on before it was revealed, but I think it is interesting. It brings up something from the previous film, but it really does explore more of how Darlin' really doesn't understand what is happening to her and that frightens her. She is living a primitive life where what she saw is influencing her more than it should be. Since she was not given a formal education, which I think is interesting in itself in this day and age, something that is very natural terrifies her beyond belief.
Something else I really like is the perversion of the church and religion. I won't delve into everything that goes down, but we get it from the beginning. Noone tells the Bishop that she will lie for him to ensure that his plan works. We see that they actually do some things that aren't very nice to Darlin' in order to prove the change that comes over her. There was also something that I guessed that was going on, again before its reveal. I do think that some of these things could be veiled a bit more to create a bit more suspense or throw in a red herring to throw us off. I did like the reveal of what Noone says though and what happened to her in the past.
An aspect I could have done without was with The Woman. She ends up befriending a group of homeless women. I did like what she does for one of them, but there was this really odd march and accepting The Woman into their group was a bit odd to me. I just felt it was out of place for the film.
That brings me to the pacing, which I think is off. The film just runs too long. I like the set up and what the film is trying to convey to us. The problem is that is just lingers on things too much and then this subplot with The Woman really doesn't add any value to the film for me. It just ends up bogging it down and I found myself bored. I think that I wanted a bit more craziness to happen as well to really ramp up the tension. I did like the ending to an extent, I just don't necessarily know if it would play out as it did.
Acting for the film though I thought was really good. McIntosh is just great as The Woman. She just is this role and does a phenomenal job with it. I just believe she should have had an even smaller role here. It was fun to see Andrews in this one, as I like him on The Walking Dead. There's something about him I just like and he's such a nice guy. I do feel bad for him and his husband here, especially since where they work and how they're treated. Noone was very easy on the eyes and I liked her performance as well. I like that she is truly trying to do good by the church, but she is dealing with demons of her own. Batt is such a jerk, but I think it works for the film and for what it's conveying. Canny was really good as well as Darlin'. She has a lot of acting that are noises and guttural sounds that add an element to the film. I liked the cameo by Carter, I think she is just so cute and talented. The rest of the cast rounded out the film for what was needed.
I was disappointed as well by the effects of the film. When we do get effects, they look really good. The problem is that I wanted them to go a step farther than what we got and show a bit more. That is really my biggest gripe here. I did like what happens during the climax though. It was pretty solid. The film is shot pretty well in my opinion.
Something else that I was disappointed by was the soundtrack of the film. I just don't think most of the selections picked fit for what it was going for. There was really too much upbeat music. It makes sense when the girls are off listening to a walkman, as that is just what they like to hear. The other songs just really didn't add anything to the film and it took me out at times.
Now with that said, those are the reasons that I'm disappointed. This film did do some things I really liked and that let me down. McIntosh did a solid job at keeping the feel of Ketchum and presenting the darkness of man. It has one of my favorite concepts to see explored in the perversion of religion. I also like that Darlin' doesn't fully understand what is happening to her, even in this age of knowledge. The acting really does bring this to life, but the film is too long. It ends up hurting the pacing for me. The effects we got in the film are good, but I did just want more from that. The soundtrack of the film really didn't fit for the most part either. I would still recommend giving this a viewing if you like the first two films to see how it ends, but this one had potential that it didn't live up to. Overall I'd say this is slightly below average, as much as it pains me to say.
7 out of 15 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.